Go to any of our local Acadiana Area (Abbeville, Arnaudville, Breaux Bridge, Broussard, Carencro, Crowley, Duson, Eunice, Kaplan, Lafayette, New Iberia, Opelousas, Rayne, Scott, Youngsville) courthouse's and you can find property records detailing real estate ownership in your community -- sometimes records that date back hundreds of years.
These records are important because they provide today's owners with proof that they have good, marketable and insurable title to the property they are selling. Equally important, such records enable home buyers to provide proof of ownership when they sell.
The closing process, which in different parts of the country is also known as "settlement" or "escrow," is increasingly computerized and automated. In many cases, home buyers and home sellers don't need to attend a specific event; signed paperwork can be sent to the closing agent via overnight delivery.
In practice, closings bring together a variety of parties who are part of the "transaction" process. For example, while the history of property ownership has been checked, it's possible that the records contain errors, unrecorded claims or flaws in the review itself, thus title insurance is necessary. At closing, transfer taxes must be paid and other claims must also be settled (including closing costs, legal fees and adjustments). In most transactions, the closing agent also completes the paperwork needed to record the loan.
What to expect.
Whatever the case, the result is that title to the property is transferred from home seller to home buyer. The home buyer receives the keys and the home seller receives payment for the home. From the amount credited to the home seller, the closing agent subtracts money to pay off the existing mortgage and other transaction costs. Deeds, loan papers, and other documents are prepared, signed and filed with local property record offices.
What you need to do.
Before closing, buyers typically have a final opportunity to walk through the property to assure that its condition has not materially changed since the sale agreement was signed. At closing itself, all papers have been prepared by closing agents, title companies, lenders and lawyers. This paperwork reflects the sale agreement and allows all parties to the transaction to verify their interests. For instance, buyers get the title to the property, lenders have their loans recorded in the public records and state governments collect their transfer taxes.
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